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Unit information: Composition - Studio in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Composition - Studio
Unit code MUSI10056
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Kelcey Swain
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


A sub-title for the Studio component (weeks 1-12) might be: Music as Sound/Music as Data. Computers and recordings let us get to grips with the raw material of music (sound) and the ways in which we codify musical materials (data) in ways that could not be imagined previously. Although the unit is called Studio Composition, it is intended to give you insights into the stuff of music whether you are a composer, analyst, musicologist or performer.


This unit offers hands-on introduction to musical uses of computers and recording technology, including the recording, editing and transformation of sound as the raw material for musical composition and the representation of music as abstract data, as in the MIDI protocol. The unit also introduces conventions underlying notation software.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful completion of this unit will enable students to:

  • react constructively and critically to performances of compositions by other students
  • discuss musical objectives and make constructive use of advice and experience
  • demonstrate an ability to handle and manipulate a variety of sound sources electronically in both analytical and creative contexts
  • understand and apply the operation of hardware, software applications, recording techniques.

Teaching details

Weekly lecture (1 hr) and follow-up seminars.

Assessment Details

Two guided composition projects (weighted 60%: 40%).

Reading and References

  • Smalley, D., "Spectromorphology: explaining sound shapes" in Organised Sound, 2(2) (1997), 107-26.
  • Emmerson, S. (ed.), The Language of Electroacoustic Music. (London, 1986).
  • Chadabe, J., Electric Sound: The Past and Promise of Electronic Music (Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1996).
  • Selected CD recordings to be determined by individual project areas

Prescribed scores, to be identified during the unit